Durban - KwaZulu-Natal is using flagship events such as the Durban July on Saturday and the Top Gear Festival last month to aggressively entice tourists from Africa.
Speaking ahead of the premier horse race, Tourism KwaZulu-Natal boss Ndabo Khoza said the organisation was “seriously committed” to attracting African tourists, particularly from the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
“Tourists from Africa are generally among the biggest-spending travellers to South Africa, coming for shopping and entertainment and other attractions. We are seriously targeting this market now with the expansion plans out of Durban of regional airline SA Express,” he said.
KZN also neighboured Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho, which needed to be exploited.
Khoza said Tourism KwaZulu-Natal had also partnered with Air Botswana and the Botswana-based travel trade in a joint marketing agreement to package the Durban July as part of a KZN tour.
“Tourists will be arriving on an Air Botswana charter flight and will experience a ‘warm’ KZN winter holiday. In addition to hosting the travel trade from Botswana, we will also have travel trade representatives from Zimbabwe and Zambia as part of a week-long tourism ‘educational’ of the province,” he said.
During the official launch of the SA Express route from Durban to Harare last week, Khoza said landlocked countries presented great opportunities for KZN to attract tourists wanting to see the sea and enjoy the beaches.
“Many have never seen the sea and what better place to do this than KZN, with its 600km of coastline and the warm waters of the Indian ocean.
“There is also a big opportunity to sell cruise travel to this market, with Durban being home to a burgeoning cruise tourism industry and MSC Cruises’ main ‘home port’ in southern African waters,” he said.
With SA Express plans for more flight routes out of Durban to other SADC countries, more markets on the continent would be opening.
Tourism KwaZulu-Natal estimates that at least 40 percent of the 55 000 people attending the Durban July will be visitors from outside the province.
It has projected an economic impact from the Durban July of more than R124-million, with a further R50m expected to be raked in from visitor spending.
Destination awareness is also boosted tremendously through social media networking platforms as visitors share their experiences while beaming real-time images and footage around the world,” Khoza said. - The Mercury